If you want to plant Peonies in your garden, when to plant is just as important as how you plant them. The peonies' claim to fame is their magnificent blooms and their longevity. Peonies are one of the few numbers of perennial plants that may outlast your own lifetime with little attention. There are many individual documented peonies that are fifty to seven-five years old. It is not unreasonable for peonies to enrich your garden for one hundred years.
There are three species of peony. Peony, herbaceous, is the most common. The long-lived plants have large single or double flowers often fragrant that appear in late spring. The blossoms come in many colors, including shades of white, pink and red. One color you won’t find is blue. Their attractive dark green leaves last all season. They make beautiful cut flowers.
Fall is the time to plant peonies, either as plants in containers from your local garden center or from rootstock. Since peonies are such long-lived perennials, be careful about choosing a spot for planting.
Peonies can’t tolerate being disturbed and seldom require division. Dig up the plants only when necessary and only in early fall or autumn. Unlike bulbs, the roots can be left in the ground. You do want to cut the established plant back to ground level in the fall.
They require full sun and well-drained soil. They do best in a neutral or slightly acidic soil. They need sun for at least 8 or 10 hours. The more sun the stronger the stems will be. Peonies can grow to five feet or taller and should be spaced three feet apart and away from other plants. They do not like wet roots. Water regularly but moderately. Also do not plant in a low area where water will stand. Too much water can kill them.
Peonies feed heavily. Plant them two inches below soil level. Cut the rootstock into pieces with three to five tubers or eyes and buds attached. Remove any rotten stumps. Place them in a hole large enough for the roots with room to spare. Pat the soil firmly but gently around the roots.
They should be mulched only the first year. Spray in spring to control Botrytis fungus, which causes Peony Wilt.